Tag Archives: Cambodia

Let Me Love You!

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Recently Lisa Fleetwood, author of Destination Dachshund, wrote a blog entry about letting authors know you love them. In the entry she says that little old me inspired her to write it because I have been posting tweets about loving people in our industry.

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I have to say that I was delighted to be the inspiration behind a blog post. It seriously gave me the tingles. So I felt that it was only fair to let people know who inspired me to write countless tweets shouting out Australian authors. It was none other than the ever charismatic Walter Mason.

Walter Mason is an institution in the Sydney writer scene. He not only wrote Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia but also runs the Universal Heart Book Club and provides inspirational workshops and talks regularly all across Sydney. I was fortunate to meet Walter through another writing mentoring legend, Jan Cornall.

I undertook my first ever writing course with Jan Cornall. It was called Write Your Novel on the Weekends and it was run through WEA. It was fantastic. I learned so much about writing a book as opposed to writing a story for creative writing that I still refer back to my notes regularly. In that two day workshop Jan said to me that she felt that Walter Mason would be a good person for me to chat with. It seemed like an odd choice on the surface as I was writing children’s sci-fi and he had published a travel memoir but I endeavored to follow her guidance because she had been so spot on with everything else.

So a few months later when I saw Walter speaking on a panel at a Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow I timidly went up to introduce myself. I have social anxiety that I generally mask pretty well but introducing myself to an author I had never met was so intimidating that I must confess that I was literally shaking. He immediately made me feel at ease and has been so generous with his time and advice ever since this first meeting that I have become one of his biggest fans, not just of his writing, which is wonderful, and not just of his workshops, which I would recommend to anyone because they never fail to inspire, but of him the person.

It was at another Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow that Walter gave me the inspiration to give Australian authors a shout out, loudly and often. He said to the audience, “bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature.” This resonated with me powerful. I’m a massive geek, I even run a page on Facebook called GEEK so I know fandom and fandomania. This was something that I knew I could do and it fit in with my personality well.

You see, I’m the kind of person who loves to rave about things that I love. If I love a show, or a movie, or a book I want to tell people about it. I even do this with my reviewing style. I only do reviews of 3 stars and over. If I didn’t like a book I don’t really feel like talking about it. If I like a book I want to tell EVERYONE about it. So bringing the spirit of fandom to Australian literature was something I could do. So I’ve written blog entries, I regularly give shout outs on twitter and I’ve even made pictures all because Walter Mason inspired me.

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So I’d like to pass on the challenge to everyone else reading this, bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature. Write a review, recommend an author to a friend, buy a book, follow an author on twitter, make some fan art. Just do something.

What will you do today to bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature today?

Edit: I’ve started using #auslitlove on my tweets that are about loving Australian authors so that I can keep track of who I’m loving and make sure I spread the love around far and wide.

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“All I Want For Christmas Is You” … and books, mainly books

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Trust me, he wanted a book not that sweater.

Have you left Christmas shopping until December? Have you just realised that stores are now zoos full of rabid animals? Never fear, I can and will help you… well,  not so much me as books. Books can and will solve your problems. So here are my Christmas recommendations for those of you without the time to think.

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Where Do You Hide Two Elephants? by Emily Rodda. Ridiculously cute picture book.

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The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody. For the lover of fantasy. Added bonus, yes it is a series. We fantasy geeks love a good series.

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Impossible Quest Series by Kate Forsyth. The first two books are already out. Get into them before they blow out Harry Potter style. Fantastic kids series.

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The Protected by Claire Zorn. Incredibly moving YA novel about grief, resilience… I actually have to stop writing about this novel now because I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It’s powerful stuff. I’ll leave it at that.

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The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss. Non Fiction exploration of stereotypes and beliefs thrust upon women/Tara Moss. That description does not do it justice at all. Captivating read. Just go out and get it for any and all women you know.

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Under Siege by Belinda Neil. A memoir about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It rings true for a lot of mental illnesses though, such as depression and anxiety,  not only PTSD, so is highly accessible.

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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay. For you travel bug friend. Get Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason as a companion piece. Your friend will love you forever. I’m trying not to literally laugh out loud remembering the “dangerously jolly” scene in Destination Cambodia.

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The Black Dress by Pamela Freeman. Get it for the woman who wants to read about strong women and also anyone with an interest in religious history. A truly excellent read about Mary MacKillop.

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Yes, you can believe the hype. Buy it for yourself for Christmas.

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. For your historical fiction loving friends who enjoy some romance.

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The Nightingale by Fiona McIntosh. Another beautiful romantic historical fiction novel.

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Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire. For the Literary snob who secretly likes it a bit sexy. In other words,  exceptionally well written but they get down to business.

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Avoiding Mr Right by Anita Heiss. For the woman who likes the idea of chick lit but needs something with a bit more depth.

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Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan. Styled as young adult but so brilliant. Honestly,  it’s for any adult, young or old, human or seal. A beautiful take on the Selkie myth.

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Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood. Love a light murder mystery and the cover is very cool. Seriously, I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but… well… we do.

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Animal People by Charlotte Wood. Slightly traumatising but oh so good. For your friend who likes a bit of real life grit.

Okay Christmas peoples,  go forth and part with your cash. Probably online, so you can avoid the people. Mwah.

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Book Review: Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason

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Firstly, I had to argue with a very stubborn three year old to be able to read this. She insists that it has a princess on the cover and that it is hers. I still periodically find that she has nabbed it from bookcase and placed it on her own. I am thoroughly glad that I persisted through my battles with the Dictator to read it because it was fantastic.

I’m not a massive fan of Travel Writing,  if you hand me a copy of “The Lonely Planet Guide” I’m a bit WTF is all this boring text. This book however is far from boring. It takes you through the heart warming and hysterical adventures of the writer,  Walter Mason, in Cambodia.  Through these personal stories I got a real sense of the vibrancy of Cambodia. I yearned to be merrily drunk and wanting ro belt out Cher in some dusty Karaoke Bar with Walter Mason, I wanted to smell those same beautiful fragrances and more importantly I wanted to embrace the people he met. This book actually gave me a desire to see Cambodia for its heart, not simply hopping from tourist location to location. Beautiful,  just beautiful… as was said in “Destination Cambodia’s” predecessor “Destination Saigon. ”

 

Buy Destination Cambodia here https://www.booktopia.com.au/destination-cambodia-walter-mason/prod9781742376622.html

 

Buy Destination Saigon here https://www.booktopia.com.au/destination-saigon-walter-mason/prod9781741759495.html

Review also on Good Reads – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1046867466